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Chairman Response Regarding Connect America

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Released: July 29, 2014
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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS

COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE O F

July 9, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Ron Kind

U.S. House ofRepresentatives

1502 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Kind:

Thank you for your letter supporting the creation of a Connect America mechanism for

areas served by rural rate-of-return carriers, and a method to provide support for broadband-only

lines. This is one of the key issues that the Commission raised in the Connect America Fund

Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that we adopted in April. Your views on this matter are

very important, and will be included in the record of the proceeding and considered as part of the

Commission' s review.

The universal service program is one of the most important tools at our disposal to ensure

that consumers and businesses in rural America have the same opportunities as their urban and

suburban counterparts to be active participants in the United States of the 21st century. As you

point out, the existing rate-of-return support mechanisms are tied to access lines at a time when

we want to create incentives for broadband deployment, adoption, innovation, and investment.

Your thoughts on how to address this issue are always welcome.

Presently, we are focused on updating the universal service program to ensure that we are

delivering the best possible voice and broadband experiences to rural America within the

confmes of our Connect America budget, while providing increased certainty and predictability

for all carriers and a climate for increased broadband expansion. To that end, in April the

Commission voted to move forward with Phase II of the Connect America Fund for price-cap

canĀ·iers, and took several steps to improve the climate for broadband investment in areas

served by incumbent rate-of-return carriers. As you note, we eliminated the Quantile Regression

Analysis benchmarks rule because it was not serving its intended purpose. In addition, in the

above-mentioned Further Notice, the Commission proposed to adopt a stand-alone broadband

funding mechanism for rate-of-return carriers and sought comment on how to support the

deployment ofbroadband-capable networks by rate-of-return carriers within the current budget

for the program. We expect a robust record on how a standalone broadband mechanism could be

structured to provide support consistent with the $2 billion budget for rate-of-return territories.

I appreciate your interest in this matter, and I look forward to working with you as we

continue the work of reforming and modernizing the universal service fund high-cost program -

image02-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Ron Kind

as well as other components of the Fund- to ensure that all Americans have access to robust

voice and broadband services.

Please let me know ifl can be of any further assistance.

Sincerely,

~

Tom Wheeler

image03-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS

COMM ISSION

WASHINGTON

O

F FI C E

OF

July 9, 2014

T H E C H AIR MAN

The Honorable Gwen Moore

U.S. House ofRepresentatives

2245 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congresswoman Moore:

Thank you for your letter supporting the creation of a Connect America mechanism for

areas served by rural rate-of-return carriers, and a method to provide support for broadband-only

lines. This is one of the key issues that the Commission raised in the Connect America Fund

Further Notice o(Proposed Rulemaking that we adopted in April. Your views on this matter are

very important, and will be included in the record of the proceeding and considered as part of the

Commission' s review.

The universal service program is one of the most important tools at our disposal to ensure

that consumers and businesses in rural America have the same opportunities as their urban and

suburban counterparts to be active participants in the United States ofthe 21st century. As you

point out, the existing rate-of-return support mechanisms are tied to access lines at a time when

we want to create incentives for broadband deployment, adoption, innovation, and investment.

Your thoughts on how to address this issue are always welcome.

Presently, we are focused on updating the universal service program to ensure that we are

delivering the best possible voice and broadband experiences to rural America within the

confmes of our Connect America budget, while providing increased certainty and predictability

for all carriers and a climate for increased broadband expansion. To that end, in April the

Commission voted to move forward with Phase II of the Connect America Fund for price-cap

carriers, and took several steps to improve the climate for broadband investment in areas

served by incumbent rate-of-return carriers. As you note, we eliminated the Quantile Regression

Analysis benchmarks rule because it was not serving its intended purpose. In addition, in the

above-mentioned Further Notice, the Commission proposed to adopt a stand-alone broadband

funding mechanism for rate-of-return carriers and sought comment on how to support the

deployment of broadband-capable networks by rate-of-return carriers within the current budget

for the program. We expect a robust record on how a standalone broadband mechanism could be

structured to provide support consistent with the $2 billion budget for rate-of-return territories.

I appreciate your interest in this matter, and I look forward to working with you as we

continue the work of reforming and modernizing the universal service fund high-cost program -

image04-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Gwen Moore

as well as other components of the Fund- to ensure that all Americans have access to robust

voice and broadband services.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Sincerely,/

4z-/l!

Tom Wheeler

image05-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL CO M MUNICATIONS

COMMISSIO N

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

July 9, 2014

T HE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Tom Petri

U.S. House of Representatives

2462 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Petri:

Thank you for your letter supporting the creation of a Connect America mechanism for

areas served by rural rate-of-return carriers, and a method to provide support for broadband-only

lines. This is one of the key issues that the Commission raised in the Connect America Fund

Further Notice o(Proposed Rulemaking that we adopted in April. Your views on this matter are

very important, and will be included in the record of the proceeding and considered as part of the

Commission's review.

The universal service program is one of the most important tools at our disposal to ensure

that consumers and businesses in rural America have the same opportunities as their urban and

suburban counterparts to be active participants in the United States of the 21st century. As you

point out, the existing rate-of-return support mechanisms are tied to access lines at a time when

we want to create incentives for broadband deployment, adoption, innovation, and investment.

Your thoughts on how to address this issue are always welcome.

Presently, we are focused on updating the universal service program to ensure that we are

delivering the best possible voice and broadband experiences to rural America within the

confmes of our Connect America budget, while providing increased certainty and predictability

for all carriers and a climate for increased broadband expansion. To that end, in April the

Commission voted to move forward with Phase II of the Connect America Fund for price-cap

carriers, and took several steps to improve the climate for broadband investment in areas

served by incumbent rate-of-return carriers. As you note, we eliminated the Quantile Regression

Analysis benchmarks rule because it was not serving its intended purpose. In addition, in the

above-mentioned Further Notice, the Commission proposed to adopt a stand-alone broadband

funding mechanism for rate-of-return carriers and sought comment on how to support the

deployment of broadband-capable networks by rate-of-return carriers within the current budget

for the program. We expect a robust record on how a standalone broadband mechanism could be

structured to provide support consistent with the $2 billion budget for rate-of-return territories.

I appreciate your interest in this matter, and I look forward to working with you as we

continue the work of reforming and modernizing the universal service fund high-cost program -

image06-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Tom Petri

as well as other components of the Fund- to ensure that all Americans have access to robust

voice and broadband services.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

;_~~~

Tom Wheeler

image07-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS

COMMISSION

WASHINGTO N

O

F FIC E

OF

July 9, 2014

THE CHAIRM A N

The Honorable Mark Pocan

U.S. House ofRepresentatives

313 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Pocan:

Thank you for your letter supporting the creation of a Connect America mechanism for

areas served by rural rate-of-return carriers, and a method to provide support for broadband-only

lines. This is one of the key issues that the Commission raised in the Connect America Fund

Further Notice o(Proposed Rulemaking that we adopted in April. Your views on this matter are

very important, and will be included in the record of the proceeding and considered as part of the

Commission's review.

The universal service program is one of the most important tools at our disposal to ensure

that consumers and businesses in rural America have the same opportunities as their urban and

suburban counterparts to be active participants in the United States of the 21st century. As you

point out, the existing rate-of-return support mechanisms are tied to access lines at a time when

we want to create incentives for broadband deployment, adoption, innovation, and investment.

Your thoughts on how to address this issue are always welcome.

Presently, we are focused on updating the universal service program to ensure that we are

delivering the best possible voice and broadband experiences to rural America within the

confmes of our Connect America budget, while providing increased certainty and predictability

for all carriers and a climate for increased broadband expansion. To that end, in April the

Commission voted to move forward with Phase II of the Connect America Fund for price-cap

carriers, and took several steps to improve the climate for broadband investment in areas

served by incumbent rate-of-return carriers. As you note, we eliminated the Quantile Regression

Analysis benchmarks rule because it was not serving its intended purpose. In addition, in the

above-mentioned Further Notice, the Commission proposed to adopt a stand-alone broadband

funding mechanism for rate-of-return carriers and sought comment on how to support the

deployment of broadband-capable networks by rate-of-return carriers within the current budget

for the program. We expect a robust record on how a standalone broadband mechanism could be

structured to pro"\'ide support consistent with the $2 billion budget for rate-of-return territories.

I appreciate your interest in this matter, and I look forward to working with you as we

continue the work of reforming and modernizing the universal service fund high-cost program -

image08-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Mark Pocan

as well as other components of the Fund- to ensure that all Americans have access to robust

voice and broadband services.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Sincerely,

Torn Wheeler

image09-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS

COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

July 9, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Reid Ribble

U.S. House of Representatives

1513 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Ribble:

Thank you for your letter supporting the creation of a Connect America mechanism for

areas served by rural rate-of-return carriers, and a method to provide support for broadband-only

lines. This is one of the key issues that the Commission raised in the Connect America Fund

Further Notice o{Proposed Rulemaking that we adopted in April. Your views on this matter are

very important, and will be included in the record of the proceeding and considered as part of the

Commission's review.

The universal service program is one of the most important tools at our disposal to ensure

that consumers and businesses in rural America have the same opportunities as their urban and

suburban counterparts to be active participants in the United States of the 21st century. As you

point out, the existing rate-of-return support mechanisms are tied to access lines at a time when

we want to create incentives for broadband deployment, adoption, innovation, and investment.

Your thoughts on how to address this issue are always welcome.

Presently, we are focused on updating the universal service program to ensure that we are

delivering the best possible voice and broadband experiences to rural America within the

confmes of our Connect America budget, while providing increased certainty and predictability

for all carriers and a climate for increased broadband expansion. To that end, in April the

Commission voted to move forward with Phase II of the Connect America Fund for price-cap

carriers, and took several steps to improve the climate for broadband investment in areas

served by incumbent rate-of-return carriers. As you note, we eliminated the Quantile Regression

Analysis benchmarks rule because it was not serving its intended purpose. In addition, in the

above-mentioned Further Notice, the Commission proposed to adopt a stand-alone broadband

funding mechanism for rate-of-return carriers and sought comment on how to support the

deployment of broadband-capable networks by rate-of-return carriers within the current budget

for the program. We expect a robust record on how a standalone broadband mechanism could be

structured to provide support consistent with the $2 billion budget for rate-of-return territories.

I appreciate your interest in this matter, and I look forward to working with you as we

continue the work of reforming and modernizing the universal service fund high-cost program -

image10-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Reid Ribble

as well as other components of the Fund- to ensure that all Americans have access to robust

voice and broadband services.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Tom Wheeler

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